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Embracing an Empathic-Thou Lens: Re-minding English Language Arts Writing Assessment

  • Author / Creator
    Day, Nicole K
  • This theoretical dissertation asks: “How might an empathic-Thou lens inform ELA teachers’ values, decisions, and practices surrounding writing assessment?” Using a framework informed by Martin Buber’s I-Thou philosophy—and an approach informed by hermeneutics, autoethnography, and writing as inquiry—this study engages textual research and personal experiences to explore the powerful forces of three major concepts—writing, assessment, and empathy. This study documents the resulting disruption and re-minding.Asserting an understanding of the history, theoretical underpinnings, and coinciding values as necessary starting points, the study first individually examines each concept that roots the inquiry question. I first explore empathy and develop an empathic-Thou lens for inquiry that encourages readers to engage 3 R’s: relationality, rupture, and re-minding. Then, an empathic- Thou exploration of writing and assessment suggests that both can be connected to Cartesian separation—reinforcing objectivity and binary thinking, influencing how English Language Arts teachers approach, respond to, and evaluate student writing—enculturement that establishes separations between student and teacher, mind and body, head and heart, and work from context.The study suggests that engaging an empathic-Thou lens could shift these educational tendencies, bringing an awareness to our separatist inclinations that, by default, distance us from students and their work. Furthermore, an empathic-Thou lens has the potential to motivate educators to make substantial change to our educational-doing through a greater awareness of our way of being in action. This dissertation suggests that exploring these concerns through a framework informed by Martin Buber’s I-Thou dialogical philosophy—while building a deeper understanding of empathy—might differently inform ELA teachers’ values, decisions, and practices surrounding writing assessment.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2019
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-01xv-gt23
  • License
    Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.